If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, does what doesn’t offend you make you stronger? As many push for bans on offensive speech, Professor Laura Kipnis highlights the benefits of offensive speech. In particular, she shows how examining what offends you can lead to a greater understanding of your own beliefs. By banning […]
Is government surveillance of private citizens ever justified? Abby Hall Blanco from the University of Tampa explains the history of spying by the American government on its own and foreign citizens. How can lessons from the past inform our policies today?
On the Fourth of July, we are celebrating 240 years of American independence. In light of that anniversary, we should take a few moments and reflect on the meaning of that day and the idea of America. The idea of America was a consensus around the belief in individual liberty and a government by the […]
Russia has been cracking down on its internal dissent, limiting speech that does not coincide with the government’s narrow and controversial policies. Last year, up to 54 people were sent to prison for hate speech, marking a dramatic five-fold increase from five years ago. Take Anastasia Bubeyeva, for example. Bubeyeva now lives alone with her […]
Was Don Quixote a pioneer of religious freedom? Eric C. Graf, Professor of Literature at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, explains how Miguel de Cervantes used his novel Don Quixote to illustrate the negative consequences of censoring speech and religion. Do you agree with Cervantes’s argument that individuals should be left alone to have freedom of conscience? Or are there […]
Today in this country, we pretty much take it for granted that we’re free to worship any god we want…or no god at all. But as you’re probably aware, that is a relatively new concept in human history. And in many parts of the world, this freedom still does not exist. What you might not […]
Those trying to curtail free speech often invoke its very limited exceptions to achieve their goals. For example, they often point to legitimate restrictions of speech based on “time, place, and manner.” This limited legal restriction to free speech allows police to, say, prevent public speech with a loudspeaker from occurring at 2 a.m. because […]
Three years ago, Edward Snowden began leaking National Security Agency documents that detailed widespread and systemic U.S. government spying on American people. Among the surveillance programs Snowden revealed were “PRISM,” which mass collects the e-mail, voice, text, and video chats from tech companies, “XKeyscore,” which allows government analysts to search through massive databases of emails, […]
On this date, June 5th, 1989. Approximately a decade following the Tiananmen Square massacre I had the pleasure of being invited to dinner by a gentleman who claimed to know a great Chinese restaurant. Over appetizers he popped the question of what it would take for me to accept China. My academic advisor at that […]
Disagreeing with what someone has to say but defending his or her right to say it is the foundational defense of free speech. English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall sums it up well when she says: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”] This view […]
The collective thought it could use military force to conquer individuality. It took unknown individual to prove otherwise.
Has Citizens United protected your freedom of speech? Or has it made it so that our democracy is overrun by corporate interests?
Corporate America can basically decide the outcome of an election because of the resources it can pour into campaigns. Basically, billionaires run our country and destroy our democratic process—and a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on a case called Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission is at fault. Or so the argument goes. What critics of […]
If you’ve been part of any conversation about American higher education recently, you might have heard someone complain that colleges and universities are morphing from educators to babysitters. Now, students at Dartmouth College are fighting back against the perceived shift. Leaders of the school’s student government delivered a scathing petition, signed by 1,200 students, demanding […]
This week’s allegations that Facebook has systemically suppressed conservative speech on its news feed has rankled many users who believed they were being showed an unbiased list of “trending stories.” For some background, a report by trusted technology news source Gizmodo quoted several former Facebook employees whose job was to curate content and manage the highly-viewed and […]
In a recent commencement address at the University of Michigan, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was booed after criticizing campus safe spaces. As Yahoo News reported: The whole purpose of college is to learn how to deal with difficult situations — not run away from them,” Bloomberg told the school’s graduating class. “One […]